To the Beat: One Minute “Political” Introductions

I am soon re-launching and re-dedicating this space to my new blog identity

Kyraocity’s Watt Shop: Converting Wishbones to Backbones

I’ll be sharing my role and insights as a thought leader in emerging adult education, as coach, and as a speaker/performer. I am having my own wishbones, my own goals (as Napolean Hill calls them “dreams with a deadline”) fulfilled. Academia has profoundly provided a space for innovation in my classrooms. I am determined now to fulfill on my influence and my brilliance as an edupreneur. This space is dedicated to that backbone.

FIRST WEEK TEACHING SOCIOLOGY AT BARUCH

Taught Tue and Thu this week. Thursdays classes (40+ in political sociology and 60+ in two intro sections) all did one-minute talks to introduce themselves to each of their new social ecologies for the semester. And it was AMAZING!!

Those who taken any of my hip-hop classes and some anthro classes where we did this will remember the beat I invite the body of people in the room to collaborate in creating. The synchrony of the beat serves as a frame for the introductions. It is a cue to have the next person begin and an outro replacing applause. It connects all these unknown individuals instantly and imbues a sense of community right away.

Body-musicking 101 is the access the feeling the sociology of mankind behind literacy, you could say. For those who remember from previous classes, it’s the first beat (measure) of “Check One”, a beat I invented for my very first class of 90 students (90% black), which was also attended by fellow U.Va. faculty member and civil rights leader Julian Bond (if you don’t know, ya better recognize) back in 1996.

THE POLITICS OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

I am delivering the pace and content of each class via Prezi.com (they give educators and students free access).  Here’s my Prezi from Day 2 of SOC/POL3062.  The group in the political sociology class has some *fascinating* people in it. Had them share from five items for their 1 min  intros. #4 was “The most political aspect of my self is…” #5 was “My political affiliation is…”  

What I learned from the 1 min talks in political sociology was that many are independents. They are from all over the city, one from Westchester, some from Long Island, and some from upstate like Carmel, NY. One from Arizona. 1-2 were raised in staunch republican settings and have recently identified as democrat. Many chose no affiliation but expressed a connection to people or humanity or love.

Some students, particularly two Asian students, one Chinese, the other Vietnamese, had to confront how they think other people view their performance in class (one was shy, the other also but with concerns about her accent) vs. how we all received them which was that each and every student who shared was stellar in our eyes.  It was beautiful!

In response to the final item “What is the most political aspect of your self or your life,” a white, female and Jewish student asked what does “political” mean? She said she didn’t think she knew. I always invite them to look within rather than outside for their truths.  That’s a great starting place–her inquiry as well as looking inside.

TRANSPARENCY? GEN Y?

Yesterday I wished I had recorded these (or at least some of them).  Done it in the past. This time around, I am practicing keeping what’s going on scarce in the marketplace of ideas as recordings…for the moment. Sometimes turning wishbones into backbones requires a closed circuit or community until you know how to put the backbone to work.

There were great moments in the intro courses to sociology too. Loved when a brotha (black man, 24) said in response to the item ‘I self identify as…’:

  • “…someone who doesn’t know what I want to do yet. and I’m older than most, I’m 24.”
  • Another said, “…I identify with being a professional lounger.”
  • One woman with a beautiful scarf draping her shoulder and torso, said, “I identify as a ‘ooman and a student.”

Most “parental units” will read the guys expressions as some Gen Y thing instead of an expression of authenticity, exploration and discovery showing how safe they feel. THAT for me is the beginning, the opening up, for learning, REAL, DEEP learning that can last a lifetime. Then there learning from differences like saying ‘ooman’ and getting immigration, the drive to be educated, and women’s rights when the femininization of poverty remains mostly hidden as a topic in most conversations.

Bring it on, people, bring it on! Show ’em how sociology can be done!

The second item that the intro classes and the political sociology class was to respond to  “Where home is or where I feel at home is…” Many, more than I might expect in NYC, said home is where I have quiet or sleep, or home is where I am, or home is where I get to meet new people rather than home is BROOOOKLYN!! or Long Island. This was one of my favorites:

  • A Chinese guy in my 2nd intro class got up and said, “Home is China, but I feel at home in Copenhagen.”

LOVE IT!! Totally thwarted any expectation that might have been created by the first phrase.

CROWDSOURCING HIGHER EDUCATION

This is such a great exercise. It is essentially crowdsourcing the sociology the students are and bring with them, turning it into reflection through action and narratives (musical, verbal and embodied). It is NOT creating the book as the main source of the important or significant information in a class. Rather it is one source that is no less important than us. This is sociology manifesting itself in us/and in the U.S.!!

I start most classes with a brilliant social construct trick I do with a Peters Map and also by sharing a context that shifts their perspective right away. I share that I have 49 years, will be 50 years in about 11 days, of knowledge or experience. If we add all 40 students’ collective knowledge with an average age of about 20 years old, then there is over 800 years of knowledge in the room not including my 50. That shifts what the space of our studying is about.

All my classes are about that collaboration of experience AND the specialized knowledge we can find in some academic books and online. We carry so much and spend so much time trying to find everything either outside ourselves, in books or on the Internet.

We must never discount what we bring when we are just being. And often it starts with looking in a new place, outside what has been customary.

“If you do not raise your eyes you will think you are the highest point.”
 Antonio Porchia

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